Ask any horse owner, rider, trainer, or coach and they’ll tell you their horse is more than just an animal. In most cases, the horse is considered an athlete and a partner and, like any athlete, will be treated to the highest quality of care. With this in mind, Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture’s Extended Learning in Bible Hill is offering an equine kinesiology taping course for those wanting to learn more about how to keep their equine partners in top form.
“The overall goal for this course is for the students to understand the principles of elastic kinesiology taping, be comfortable and confident handling the tape and ensuing proper application of it to their own horses,” said Christa Veinotte, the instructor delivering the course.
The use of elastic kinesiology tape on horses is extremely beneficial to the well-being and performance of horses. The tape is used to help alleviate muscle fatigue and assist with recovery of those muscles. The tape has a sticky surface which adheres to the hair of the horse. This creates a lifting of the skin and allows an increase in circulation which can improve blood flow to that area and decrease pain. Certain taping applications can also be used to reduce swelling, release scar tissue, increase mobility and relieve tension in an area.
In fact, equine kinesiotaping has become such an important training tool that the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the organization which governs international equestrian competition, restricts the procedure to only be performed in the stable areas during competition as it is suspected to give equine athletes a competitive advantage.
“This course is the first if its kind in North America,” Veinotte said. “To our knowledge, it is the only equine kinesiology taping course offered to horse owners, riders, coaches and trainers. All other courses are designed to instruct equine health-care professionals like veterinarians, chiropractors and massage therapists in more complex applications.”
During the past 26 years, Veinotte has become an equine rehabilitation specialist. Her career began studying at the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College in the pre-veterinary medicine program. From there she attended the equine technology course at the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology and completed a two year, 2,200-hour massage therapy diploma at D’arcy Lane Institute in Ontario. She has advanced training in craniosacral and lymphatic drainage therapy and has been registered in three Canadian provinces. She is the first Canadian to obtain certification in kinesiology taping for horses and is the first certified taping instructor in Canada.
Veinotte has also performed more than 30,000 career treatments. Her clients include Olympic and World Cup horses. These are only a few of her accomplishments, and she is currently developing a series of manual lymph drainage courses for other health practitioners and is a published author in numerous magazines and newspapers.
The course that is offered through Dal AC Extended Learning is a very high level introductory course. Veinotte explains while some taping applications can be taught to amateurs, some applications should be left to professionals.
“While some techniques are quite complicated and should only be applied by professionals, there are many tapings that horse owners can safely apply to their own horses if taught correctly,” she says. “It does not replace your veterinarian or other health-care practitioner, but it gives the owners another valuable tool to use in caring for their own horses.”
While the practice of equine kinesiotaping is still fairly new to the equine industry, it came as no surprise to Veinotte when kinesiotaping slowly emerged among equestrians.
“Human athletes have been using elastic training tape for years and so it was only a matter of time until it transferred to equestrian sports.”
The course will run July 9 and 10. Register at dal.ca/exl